Trip on Appaloosa starting 2013-06-21 in BSAJuly13
‘Midsummer’ Weekend (June 21 – 23) or Reputation Restored – report by skipper Alan Howells
Alan, Kath Lyddiard, Claire Turner and Don Hurst went for a sail from Hamble Point on Appaloosa (a Bavaria 36). The forecast from about a week before was for light winds, but this changed during the course of the week. At one point it had been so good (steady W4 for the whole weekend) that I actually considered suggesting a fast reach to Cherbourg for an excellent lunch and lazy afternoon before a fast reach back. Finally we ended up with a range of forecasts and the actual wind was at the top end of the strongest of those. Several alternative plans (round the island, Needles and back etc) had been abandoned as the forecasts grew worse.
The actual wind of Saturday was SW8 with frequent wind speeds of over 40 and a max of 48.1. The sea state for sheltered waters was forecast as slight and in practice it remained so throughout the weekend. A few yachts were out well reefed and some racing yachts were practicing with full mainsails. We sailed down Southampton Water on a small headsail and turned down the North Channel. Towards the end of that we hoisted the main, tying in the third reef for which there was no horn. Even with that limited sail up very aggressive helming was required going down wind. A fast reach, much easier, with a short reach back for a while to stay well clear of a ship, brought is to Osborne Bay where we anchored for bacon butties. Though the wind continued to gust up to F8, the anchorage was absolutely flat.
Sailing upwind was OK but hard work. Tacking was possible though we did gybe around instead once. We continued upwind to Cowes when the consensus was to finish sailing for the day so we went on a bit further and sailed in on a fast close reach. Mooring into the ebb tide at East Cowes was straightforward. Met up with Bob Buchannon and another of his crew in the pub for a drink and meal. They had crossed by hovercraft.
Leaving in the morning was accomplished without incident by going astern against the flood. The wind was now W6 offering some nice high wind practice and after some tacking and gybing with two reefs in the main and a small headsail we took a break again in Osborne bay which remained flat. An excellent sail back around the West side of the Bramble bank and up Southampton water brought us to the entrance to the Hamble where we dropped the sails and motored in. Having fuelled came the difficult bit of returning to the marina berth. The yacht paperwork is specific about mooring starboard side to. The ebb tide meant that this was a downtide mooring with the wind of the starboard quarter on a yacht that handles like a sponge under power with a port kick going astern. Don was put ashore and it was almost perfect until a thrown line went astray and the result was not pretty. However careful fendering resulted in zero damage. Having asked later at the office they said that they would have been happy with a port side to mooring!
Overall not a great mileage but good high wind sailing practice and probably about the most that could be comfortably achieved given winds more usually associated with the Equinox than the Solstice.